Wimbledon 2014: Nadal, Federer get campaigns under way

Last Updated: Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - 15:28

London: World number one Rafael Nadal and seven-time champion Roger Federer begin their Wimbledon campaigns on Tuesday, desperate to banish the ghosts of 2013.

Nadal, seeded two this year, is fresh from a ninth French Open but where Paris has proved to be a home away from home for the Spaniard, Wimbledon has delivered just bitter-sweet memories.

His two titles of 2008 and 2010 must have seemed like ancient history when he crashed out in the second round in 2012.

Worse was to come in 2013 when he suffered a first ever opening round loss at a major at the hands of Steve Darcis, a Belgian journeyman who hasn`t won a match since.

Nadal, seeking a 15th major, faces Martin Klizan of Slovakia, who took a set off the world number one in Paris last year.

"I`ve said before this is really the most dangerous tournament of the year," said Nadal.

"Here the courts are a little bit faster. The feeling on court is a little bit strange for everybody. Especially the top players who have more pressure."

Federer, meanwhile, believes he`s in the best shape to break a tie of seven Wimbledon titles he currently shares with Pete Sampras.

He was buoyed by a seventh Halle grasscourt crown last week, but is aware of the pitfalls of south-west London after losing to Ukraine`s Sergey Stakhovksy in the second round 12 months ago.

"I feel like if things click here I should be able to win the tournament," said Federer.

The 32-year-old Swiss faces Italy`s Paolo Lorenzi, a man who has never won a match at the majors in his 11-year career.

With women`s champion Marion Bartoli having retired, the 2013 runner-up Sabine Lisicki has the honour of opening Centre Court proceedings against Israel`s Julia Glushko.

Bartoli will be watching from the Royal Box and believes Lisicki can be a title threat this year despite the big-serving German enduring a miserable 2014 where she has yet to get past the third round at any event.

"Do I think she`s going to go a step further this year? Well, Sabine really loves Wimbledon," said Bartoli.

"Obviously she did so well not only last year but the years before. She is kind of able to really come in here and be a total different player from what she is during the whole year."

Top seed and world number one Serena Williams starts her campaign against Anna Tatishvili, the former Georgian player who has switched allegiance to the United States.

The 32-year-old Williams lost in the last-16 at the Australian Open and suffered an embarrassing second round exit to Spain`s Garbine Muguruza at the French Open.

"When I come here, I just feel a sense of being home. I really like being here," said the American.

Maria Sharapova, who was champion as a 17-year-old in 2004, takes on British wildcard Samantha Murray looking to go further than last year when she was dumped out in the second round by Portuguese qualifier Michelle Larcher De Brito.

AFP

First Published: Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - 15:28

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